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With February 14th less than one week away, I find myself reflecting on my earliest Valentine’s experiences when childhood classmates would exchange Valentine’s cards and sugar-sweet hearts with messages on them.  How fun it was to come home and count how many cards I had received. If I had a lot of cards, that had to mean I was likable, right?  And if someone gave me chocolate and asked me to be their Valentine, then for sure I was lovable, right?  But if I went home with only a few cards, or without candy, I wondered why no one liked me.  Without realizing it, I was beginning to form a belief that my ‘lovability’ was determined by others.  An in order to trust my love of self, I needed affirmation from someone else.  I carried this belief into my early adult relationships and found myself relying on other people and gestures to feel complete and loved.  This left me vulnerable to feelings of loneliness and sadness in life, especially on those Valentine’s days when I was alone or when my ‘hopes and expectations’ of the holiday were left  unmet.  It wasn’t until years later that I realized the influence my belief system was having on my ability to love myself and, in turn, love & be loved by others.  It was a profound ‘ah-ha’ moment.  In my work, I have been privileged to hear countless stories of love and loneliness, from men and women, both single and in relationships ~ and of their sincere yearning for connection, acceptance and the feeling of being loved unconditionally.  We know that as... read more

~ believe in new beginnings ~